Responses I usually get when I say: “I’m from the Philippines”

There’s this viral “I love your Filipino accent, say it again” meme that I couldn’t help but laugh at whenever I scrolled through my newsfeed on Facebook.

*whispers PRENCH PRIES*

For most Filipinos, English is not an alien tongue, and I’m mighty proud to say that the Philippines is among the most fluent in Asia. In the Philippines, even our cigarette vendors speak at least basic English. Filipinos can become English teachers abroad or online with little supplementary education.

However, going back to the main subject… I’ve compiled some of the usual responses — from different types of people, while traveling and while living in culturally diverse countries — when people ask the inevitable conversation starter: “So, where are you from?”

From Brussels: the Heart of Europe, to a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea called Malta, to Paris: La Ville-Lumière…. all the way to La Ilha Formosa which is now generally called as Taiwan, up to the fourth biggest country in the world that was once known as the Land of the Divine.

1. “Home of the Beauty Queens!”

The Philippines has won all four pageants: two Miss Universe crowns, one Miss World crown, five Miss International crowns and two Miss Earth crowns — making it the only Asian country to win all four titles.

When I was living in Brussels, Filipina-Belgian Angeline Flor Pua was crowned Miss Belgium 2018, and she is only one of the several half-Pinay beauties who dominated pageants in other countries.

I seriously got text messages from my Belgian friends saying, “Miss Belgium 2018 is a Filipina! Félicitations!” like we were sisters or something, but that absolutely made me proud.

Everybody (except the haters) can attest that Pinays, for the most part, are some of the exceptionally beautiful women in the world. Not only because of the fact that Filipinos are a product of mixed culture, but because of our strong character. Which brings me to….

2. “Wife material”/“Submissive wives”

These statements may or may not sound offensive, but the very first time some random European guy told me, “You are wife material (because Pinays are submissive wives),” I was pissed. Come on, dude. Not every Filipina is submissive, so stop generalizing.

I used to hate it to the very core when lame guys associate being a Pinay to being a housewife. I mean, Pinays are good leaders, too. And businesswomen. And teachers. Nomsayin? My two cents.

On the bright side, I must say that many Pinays—if not all—are undeniably kind, smart, educated, faithful, loyal, generous, family-oriented, and can surely make every house a home.

All the good qualities and more, while maintaining their careers to earn a living.

Even so, dude, STOP GENERALIZING. *looks at you*

3. “But, why are you not married?”

Truth be told, many nationalities think that Filipinos customarily marry young. Surprise, surprise: Not really. At least, not anymore!

It’s as if something’s not quite right with me and my choices in life, I almost always automatically ask them back, “Then why are you married?” to imply that there are no wrong or right choices, and that being a single 25 year old Filipina is not a bad thing.

Again, Pinays are good leaders, too. And businesswomen. And teachers. And so many other labels you can possibly think of.

Salute to all our modern Filipino women out there!

4. “Do you have Bride Agencies in the Philippines?”

To be somewhat fair, I never got this astounding question from any Westerner. I specifically got this question from traditional Chinese guys. Followed by, “How much is the dowry there?” and what sounded pretty much like an insult, “How much do I need to pay your parents to marry you?” and more overwhelming questions like, “How much did your brother-in-law pay your parents before he married your sister?”

Of course I nonchalantly answered, “I don’t know,” and changed the subject because I honestly had no complete knowledge about their concerns.

But just to come clean, I did my research and learned about the unfortunate reality that there still are Mail Order Brides from the Philippines.

5. “Oh, that’s why you know some Spanish words!”

International friends, Spanish was the official language of the Philippines from the beginning of Spanish rule in the late 16th century — for 333 years.

Many Filipinos have Spanish names, and many towns, cities and even terminologies are in Spanish — starting from the term Filipino, which in of itself, is a Spanish term.

But, the most Hispanized regions of the Philippines were particularly the governing centers, such as Manila and Cebu. This explains the predominance of Spanish words in Tagalog and Cebuano.

6. “Rice!”

Rice, indeed, is a staple in the Philippines. A Filipino dish will not be complete without rice. My life is not complete without rice. I love rice.

As much as your love for your croissant, or noodles, or pasta, or kebab, or stewed rabbit.

7. “Is that….near Hawaii?”

Oh, how I wish!!!!

8. “I thought you’re from China/Korea/Japan”

NO. (See: List of countries in Asia)

9. Domestic Workers/Pick-up Girls/Ladyboys

Now these are complex subjects. I hate generalizations – faulty generalizations in particular. And these are sensitive topics for me.

It’s a shame how some rude people instantly assume that if you’re from the Philippines, you’re a domestic helper. That you are “only” a domestic helper. That you are less of a person just because you’re from a third world country.

Well, with all due respect, I wonder how first world countries would have been like without OFWs. In short, kiss my ass.

You have no idea how many times I have been asked regarding pick-up girls in Manila. It’s true, sad to say, some girls do that for a living. And lady boys are plenty. But that’s their life, so who are we to judge?

Also, stop telling me that all Filipinas are the same, when the truth is, you can’t even keep your hands to yourself.

PRO TIP: There’s more to Makati than Red Light District/Burgos. Go figure. You’re welcome!

10. “I love Filipinos/the Philippines!”

The amazingly happy & positive people, exotic wildlife, scenic beaches, low cost of living currency-wise (compared to other countries), the nightlife, and everything else in between. Not to mention the 7,641 islands, and its sunny disposition.

Amid all the good, the bad, and the ugly… there’s definitely no place like home — our home.

What are the usual responses you get when you say you are from *insert your country here*? I’d love to know so comment down below!

Alaizza Quiozon

FUN FACT: Nobody has ever spelled my first name right the first time, let alone my full name. So, where will all these lead? Maybe nowhere. But, then again, maybe somewhere — which is the magic of it.

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